How to make a MS-DOS bootable USB key (on topic, I swear)

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How to make a MS-DOS bootable USB key (on topic, I swear)

Postby motoperpetuo on Sun Mar 23, 2008 10:25 pm

This is on topic because some computers, like my new Dell Inspiron 530 only allow you to update your BIOS with a DOS/Windows executable. If you don't have Windows, the Dell support sites says that you have to create a bootable USB key that will boot into DOS, copy the .exe for the BIOS update to the USB key, boot to the USB key, and run the BIOS update that way. I just spent four hours or so trying to figure out how to make said bootable DOS USB key, so I thought I'd pass some instructions on in case they help save anyone else the hassel. Here's what you need to do (you need a Windows computer to do this):

1)Download and install the HP Drive Key Boot Utility from http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/Te ... R1002_USEN

2)Download a MS-DOS image file (.img extension) from http://www.allbootdisks.com/download/dos.html). I used the DOS
6.0 image, but I suppose any of them would work.

3)Insert your USB key and run the above HP Drive Key Boot Utility (from Windows, of course).

4)Choose the drive letter for your USB key and click Next.

5)Keep the default “Create New or Replace Existing Configuration” option and click Next.

6)Choose the Floppy Disk option and click Next.

7)Browse to the DOS image you downloaded and click Next.

8)If everything went well, you'll have your bootable DOS USB flash key now.

The rub is, that after doing this, the BIOS update that supposedly works this way errors out with a cryptic "Error! udosexe = -5". Back to the drawingboard for me.
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Re: How to make a MS-DOS bootable USB key (on topic, I swear)

Postby grimdestripador on Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:02 am

tell me how to make the image using Linux. It does not take two hours to figure out to use HP's usb formatter.
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Re: How to make a MS-DOS bootable USB key (on topic, I swear)

Postby motoperpetuo on Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:40 am

OK, well it took me two hours. Well, four, actually, starting from the time I first read that I needed to do this on Dell's support site. Then again, I was frazzled after already spending several hours previously trying to troubleshoot the original problem I was hoping to fix by updating my BIOS. I was just trying to be helpful by posting this and spare other people who aren't as smart as you the hassle I went through figuring it out.

If anyone does know how to make a bootable DOS USB key without utilizing Windows, please do post. I think it's pretty annoying that you (apparently) have to use Windows to update your BIOS on a computer that's billed as being Linux only.
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Re: How to make a MS-DOS bootable USB key (on topic, I swear)

Postby grimdestripador on Thu Apr 03, 2008 6:39 pm

I imagine that it is possable to boot to a version of FreeDOS. But considering you'll be messing with the BIOS, I'd stay far away. Cause If the BIOS update fails, you have bigger problems than an outdated bios. For now, I would just use win98 formatted floppy (or copy the floppy to usb), and run the program from a fat32 partition.

I agree, that Linux community should make a BIOS updates easier to roll out.
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